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Google and Samsung become BFFs, will share patents for next 10 years

Google edition samsung S4
Image used with permission by copyright holder

So where will you be in 10 years? It looks like Google and Samsung expect to be good friends. The two tech companies have announced a major patent deal. The two agreed to license access to each other’s patents – both those already existing and to come – for the next decade.

Just to remind everyone, a patent is a legal document from a government (often the U.S.) that gives a person or a company the exclusive right to a certain type of product or production method for a number of years. Google and Samsung, for some undisclosed price, will share each other’s patented innovations from now until 2024, which is  a really long time in tech terms (considering smartphones didn’t exist 10 years ago and neither Google and Samsung were the dominant companies they are today). Legal representatives from both companies are so far praising the deal, and it apparently it extends beyond mobile patents into other product categories, too.

Let’s also remember Google and Samsung are massive companies that make smartphones, operating systems, household appliances, search platforms, advertising platforms, and thousands of other products. This could be potentially game-changing if this patent deal is used to further integrate the software and technology of Google with the hardware and household products of Samsung. But it might just be to protect both companies from patent trolling. If you thought Android in your oven was cool, who knows what these two companies could cook up together.

At first glance this seems like good news for everyone in a way. Less patent blockades means more interesting products. However, we’re a little skeptical, especially because this may make other companies less likely to work with Google. HTC and LG are already at a big disadvantage compared to Samsung, but when Samsung has access to a lot of the technology Google is creating, who knows what may happen. This is also just plain old bad news because it continues to legitimize the thousands of software patents that exist, and will certainly continue to complicate things legally as Samsung, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others continue suing each other.

Either way, it looks like this will be an opportunity for Google and Samsung to get an edge on competitors.

Joshua Sherman
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joshua Sherman is a contributor for Digital Trends who writes about all things mobile from Apple to Zynga. Josh pulls his…
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